JPAC Joint United Kingdom (UK) Blood Transfusion and Tissue Transplantation Services Professional Advisory Committee

6.11: Transportation of blood components

6.11.1: General considerations

Donated blood and blood components should be transported by a secure system using transit containers, packing materials and procedures which have been validated for the purpose to ensure the component surface temperature can be maintained within the correct ranges during transportation (Chapter 7).

Monitoring of routine transport temperatures should be performed periodically.

Revalidation should be performed if changes are made to the transport containers, packing materials or procedures.

As far as is practicable, transit containers should be equilibrated to a component’s storage temperature prior to filling.

Transport containers should be appropriately labelled and should be secure and protect components and samples from damage during transit.

Documentation should accompany components in transit to permit their identification.

Transport containers should not be exposed to temperatures beyond the range and time for which they have been validated.

Where melting ice is used to achieve an appropriate storage temperature, it should not come into direct contact with the components.

Dead air space in packaging containers should be minimised.

Written procedures for the transportation of components should be established and should
ensure compliance with the guidance given above. In addition, written procedures should include the following:

  • definition of approved systems of packaging, transportation and transport conditions required for each component
  • a requirement for monitoring the performance of approved systems of packaging and transportation.

6.11.2: Transportation from collection site to processing centre

Blood and samples from donor sessions must be transported to the receiving blood supplier under appropriate conditions of temperature, security and hygiene.

Donations from which it is intended to prepare platelets should be transported in conditions that ensure the surface temperature of the blood packs does not drop below 18°C.

Blood and samples being transported from donor sessions must be accompanied by documentation, which ensures that all donations in the consignment can be accounted for. (Note: ‘Documentation’ includes information in writing or in electronic format.)

6.11.3: Transport of components from Blood Establishments to hospital blood banks/users

Blood components should be transported under conditions which are as close as possible to their specific storage requirements and comply with the requirements of Chapter 7. Transport time should be kept to a minimum.

It should be noted that, occasionally, red cell components are issued before they have been cooled to their storage temperature (4 ±2°C). In such circumstances, it may be neither possible nor necessary to maintain the transport temperature within the range 2–10°C and local judgement should be exercised.

Components dispatched from a blood supplier should be accompanied by a dispatch note detailing as a minimum:

  • the donation number of each component
  • if relevant, the component’s ABO and RhD blood group
  • the signature(s) and designation of the person(s) responsible for the issue
  • space for the signature(s) and designation of the person(s) receiving the consignment.

A copy of the signed and annotated dispatch note (either paper or an electronic equivalent acceptable to the quality director) should be returned to the blood supplier for storage.